NSU to start fall semester Aug. 19, conclude classroom instruction by Thanksgiving

ABERDEEN, S.D. (Press Release) – Northern State University will begin fall semester on Aug. 19 and conclude classroom instruction by Thanksgiving, as directed by the South Dakota Board of Regents.

Last month, the board announced its commitment to on-campus operations this fall. Today, the regents said all campuses will begin instruction on Wednesday, Aug. 19, three days earlier than originally scheduled. Instead of returning to campus after the Thanksgiving recess Nov. 25-29, students will complete final exams remotely.

“The goal is to maintain the academic calendar while being mindful of public health,” said Regents President John W. Bastian. “Our university presidents recommended this adjustment to reduce student travel to and from campus. Everyone is looking for ways to successfully operate during a global pandemic and avoid the spread of this coronavirus wherever possible.”

To provide for required instructional time in a condensed semester and to further reduce travel, three holidays—Labor Day, Native American Day and Veterans Day—will become class days. With classes in session on those dates, universities will plan programming to appropriately recognize the holidays. Employees will be given time off in lieu of these holidays later in the year.

After the Thanksgiving holiday, students have two non-class days available as they prepare for final exams Dec. 2-8. All university campuses plan to be closed between Christmas and New Year’s Day to facilitate deep cleaning and other preparations for the spring semester.

NSU Planning Safe Return to Campus

Pandemic planning is underway on all campuses. At Northern, the Return-to-Campus Taskforce and Academic Planning Fall 2020 Taskforce are currently exploring best practices that put health and safety first while supporting the university’s educational mission.

The “Wolves Mask Up” campaign is already underway, emphasizing prevention through social responsibility, encouraging the use of masks, hand sanitizer and other hygiene methods. Northern has also lowered the maximum occupancy in event spaces, and is offering a limited number of single-occupancy residence hall rooms for the upcoming year. Additional details and protocols will be released later this summer.